Summary of Fund Balances

Countywide Fund Balances

Fund Accounting

Elbert County's accounting system is organized and operated on a fund basis. A fund is defined as a fiscal and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts recording cash and other financial resources, together with all related liabilities and residual equities or balances, and changes therein, which are segregated for the purpose of carrying on specific activities or attaining certain objectives in accordance with special regulations, restrictions, or limitations. The county operates 13 funds that together provide services to all county residents. Additionally, the County operates 3 funds that support the tracking of revenues and expenditures related to specific taxpayer authorized public improvement districts. The audited and projected starting and ending balances along with revenues and expenses to each fund for the years of 2020-2023 is provided below. (Note: Fund 35 Public Trustee is not addressed in this budget. It is separately managed by the elected Treasurer/Public Trustee and not under the authority of the Board of County Commissioners.)

Use of Fund Balances

Colorado statute requires local governments to adopt a balanced budget each year. A budget is determined to be balanced if the sum total of all projected expenses in each fund is less than or equal to the anticipated revenues plus any cash on hand at the start of the fiscal year.

Over the past several years the County has made tremendous efforts to control costs in order to build fund balances for two specific purposes. The first priority was to ensure each fund had an end of year balance that would sustain operations for the first quarter of the year to ensure adequate cash-flow prior to Spring property tax collections. That goal was achieved in 2019. The second goal was to establish and build "rainy day funds" - a Contingency Fund that would support response to urgent needs during a declared emergency, and a Stability Fund that will allow the county to provide a constant level of services throughout a period of economic downturn. These "rainy day" funds have been established and have a combined value of $6.5 million.

From 2020 to 2022, the General Fund balance grew primarily due to receipt of COVID relief and response funding. In 2023, these funds will be used to address long needed one-time projects throughout the County.

Fund Balances provide a necessary "shock absorber" that allow the county to operate predictably and provide a constant level of services regardless of variations in revenue from year to year.